France's Echosens reels in €30M for international expansion

Echosens' FibroScan system--Courtesy of Echosens

French diagnostics outfit Echosens roped in €30 million ($33 million) in funding to build out its liver testing portfolio and generate international growth.

Cathay Capital, OrbiMed Advisors and a private Chinese fund contributed cash, and the fundraising also included the sale of a stake by Echosens' main shareholder, Inner Mongolia FuRui Medical Sciences. Neither side is revealing financial details, but FuRui will keep a 51% stake in the company after the sale, Echosens said in a statement.

A new pot of cash helps Echosens at a critical moment, as the Paris-based company looks to expand its international presence and accelerate product development. The company plans to use proceeds from the fundraising to strengthen its footprint in the U.S. and China, "two key zones of strategic importance," and to beef up its liver screening tools, it said in a statement. Echosens' products include FibroScan, a noninvasive diagnostic device that measures liver stiffness and steatosis with a gel probe, and FibroMeter, a blood test that checks for liver fibrosis and cirrhosis.

While the company is focusing most of its attention on drumming up internal operations, it is also looking outward for growth. With new funds in its pocket, Echosens plans to scout out external growth opportunities within the liver testing sector, "as long as these include technological innovation and are capable of creating value through leverage," the company said in a statement.

"Our ambition is to offer a wider service range to hepatologists and gastroenterologists which already use our technology. A new development phase, which will include both external growth and the expansion of our international footprint, should drive the profitable growth of the group in coming years," CEO Claude Lenoir said in a statement.

Echosens is not the only European company making waves in the diagnostics space. Belgian molecular diagnostics outfit Biocartis recently launched a €100 million ($109 million) public offering at the high end of its expected range as it diversifies its portfolio and develops tests for infectious diseases and cancer. France's Labco is also charting growth, planning to launch a €545 million ($598 million) IPO to reduce its debt and generate cash for new acquisitions.

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